SHOCKER: Vic’s Bagel Bar Is Better Than Ess A Bagel
A few weeks ago, we reported that Vic’s Bagel Bar (on 3rd Ave. btw. 36+37th) had opened and was offering Midtown bagel lovers the option to customize their cream cheese (Cold Stone Creamery style.) Curiosity always gets the best of me, so of course I had to return to try one of their bagel monstrosities… the Backyard BBQ.
Lest you be confused, here are the steps:
It’s all very Pinkberry’ish, down to the small tubs of toppings… or should I say “mix-ins” because they don’t top your cream cheese as much as they’re, duh, mixed into your cream cheese, hummus, etc. While it’s more trendy-looking than most, it’s still a kosher bagel shop (crazy, right?) so you won’t find any meat here aside from lox.
I grew up on bagels from an awesome Windsor Terrace bagel shop and I thought the particular poppyseed bagel I ordered was comparable to one of Brooklyn’s best. Here’s why: The poppyseed coating was generous, but not so much where you can’t tell the bagel’s color because it’s smothered in seeds. Lunch’er Vick5y mentioned that when she ordered the Backyard BBQ, the cream cheese was “seriously squirting”. Not sure if bagel shop owner Vic took that comment to heart, but there wasn’t excess spillage in mine.
Now, let’s dissect this thing. There’s cut corn, small squares of cheddar cheese mixed with a stream of BBQ sauce, which was then folded into plain cream cheese. It’s such an obvious concept, it kind of blows my mind no one thought to offer customized cream cheese sooner.
In a way, it’s a bagel for hedonists if only because the bagel is no longer just a bagel – it’s a full, three dimensional experience. Not only are you so happy about the taste of cream cheese on a bagel, but there’s now CHUNKS OF CHEESE in your cream cheese. It’s sensory overload, but in a good way. I also happen to be a great fan of barbecue sauce so am wondering why other bagel shops haven’t added barbecue cream cheese to their selection. And if you can’t tell, it was a fat bagel with springy insides. You can ask for a more toasted – darker – bagel, but I want to keep my two front teeth so the bagel’s lightly toasted crust with dense, soft insides was happiness for me.
The Backyard BBQ came out to about $7 with tax which is totally pricey for a bagel, but kind of reasonable for a lunchtime sandwich. (There’s a $7 credit card minimum, which may be a pain for the cashless customer. Thankfully, I just made the cutoff.) Lunch’ers who can’t imagine forking over more than $3 for meatless food, you can still get your $2.50 bagel with cream cheese and $1.50 bagel with butter here. I’m an Ess-A-Bagel (on 3rd btw. 50+51st) devotee because it’s close to where I work, but I actually preferred Vic’s poppyseed to any I’ve had at Ess-A-Bagel. And, at Vic’s, they don’t randomly yell after me in Japanese, which is a nice change to dealing with bored, but well-meaning bagel men at Ess.
Vic’s Bagel Bar, 544 3rd Ave (btw 36+37th), 212-213-3900